Parks and Recreation Committee Assembly – December 12, 2022 –

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The commissioners received an update from Parks and Rec staff. A redesign for Acacia Park was approved and a contractor found. The plan will next go to Council for approval and hopefully there will be a new playground in the park in about six months. The Pooch Park for dogs will be moved from its current location at the Hunt Library to Brea Dam Park. Fullerton Community Center locker rooms will add security doors, and a committee will be formed to decide what goes into Union Pacific Park.

West Coyote Hills hiking trails are scheduled to open in late January 2023. Parks and Rec is still waiting for the county to finalize its plan before the public can use the trails. Reducing erosion on the trails is currently Chevron’s responsibility, but the task will be given to the city to manage after the trail opens. Commissioner Hallstrom expressed interest in the various strategies to combat erosion and wished to use re-used natural materials for this purpose whenever possible.

Camp Hillcrest for children will be open again over the winter break. The Fullerton Community Center has added 3 pickleball courts for the popular sport. Around 500 people attended the downtown tree lighting, and the annual winter market was revived by the Fullerton Museum Center after funding for the event was cut from the city’s budget.

Fullerton Parks and Rec has been awarded a new outdoor equity program grant. The program’s home base will be Richman Park, and its goal is to help sixth through eighth graders in the Richman community gain more direct access to nature and the outdoors. Local excursions will be to attractions such as the Fullerton Arboretum and Laguna Lake, while Natural Area Excursions will focus on camping and outdoor adventures at Lake Arrowhead and elsewhere. Two part-time administrators for the program will be hired. There are 100 youth available per field trip, with 10 local and 5 larger camps planned throughout the year, and the Fullerton School District will promote the program.

A presentation was made recommending that the city adopt a policy for memorial benches, trees and kiosks. This policy is intended to respond to the desire of the public to commemorate a loved one with some form of public memorial. Such memorials are not financed by the city, but by individual citizens. Several options were discussed. Metal benches are available for a fee of $3,200, which only covers the bench, its plaque, and ongoing maintenance. Benches in a new location also require a $2,000 cement pad, bringing the cost to $5,200. Another option is custom wood benches made from locally reclaimed wood for $8,500, including craftsmanship from local artisans. Finally, memorial plaques would be allowed for a fee of $550 for memorial trees.

During the discussion, the commissioners asked about the accessibility for the public and whether the monuments are present in all parts of the city. The answer was that they were expensive as the cost was not estimated by the city and only five had been installed in the last year. A significant portion of the purchase price must be spent on future maintenance as vandalism can be an issue. The Commissioners recommended that the policy be adopted with the following guidelines: that less expensive, more environmentally friendly alternatives to cement pads be explored; that more affordable trees will be available to plant and that an effort will be made to use local materials and support local artisans with this public service.

In comments from the Commissioner, the Fullerton on Foot Walking Tours, designed by Fullerton Community Center staffer Aimee Aul, were praised by Commissioner Wehn ​​for their unique character and wealth of information. These tours are regularly promoted on social media and the FCC website.

Commissioner Lindstrom asked about using e-bikes on trails. Local governments can ban them if they cause a nuisance in the state of California. E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, especially among seniors. To address these concerns, an e-bike usage survey is being conducted by employees. The commissioners would also like to see a future presentation from the police department covering vandalism, burglaries, etc. to help determine maintenance costs to the city.

Members of the public asked for clarification on requirements for volunteers in city programs. The city requires fingerprints and a TB test for release. The poor condition of the signposts on the Hiltscher Trail was mentioned. Staff referred interested volunteers to the city’s current Adopt a Park program to help with maintenance.

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